Ghana

Dutch mega-trial exposes brutal gangland underworld

Three members of a drug cartel involved in a series of gang­land killings have been jailed for life in the biggest criminal trial in Dutch history.

The gang’s “undisputed” ringlead­er, Ridouan Taghi, was for years one of the Netherlands’ most-wanted fugitives.

Taghi was jailed for murder, firearms offences and aggravated robbery.

Two other men, Said R and Mario R – whose full names cannot be revealed under Dutch law – were also given life sentences.

They were convicted of complicity in murder, attempted murder, prepa­ration for and complicity in murder.

In total, 17 people were handed sentences ranging from life in prison to one year and nine months.

The nature and scale of this case is unprecedented in the Netherlands.

It took 142 hearing days spread over almost six years, 800 pages of pleadings and more than 3,000 pages of documents from the lawyers to arrive at today’s verdicts.

From the outset the “mega-trial” – which began on March 11, 2021 – has been shrouded in secrecy and security.

The court president said the “Marengo” trial – named after the codeword for the police operation which led to the arrests – was about “ruthless, disruptive violence”.

“When we read the messages in the file, we end up in a world where human life has no value,” he said.

—BBC

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